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August 5th 2009 9:29 pm

5dmark2 - dont know which one to get: 24-105 mm f4 or 24-70 mm f2.8

I am buying Canon5dmark2 but i am not sure which lens to buy.

Option no.1 5d body + Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM in the box

Option no. 2 5d just body + Canon EF 24-70 mm 2.8L USM

I use it mostly for traveling - this summer i go to west coast of US, later this year to Mexico, Thailand. Now you know that i dont use it in the studio or for sports shots that much. :)

Please help with some suggestions, maybe even some other lenses?

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12 replies

Hey Gasper,

I bought the 24-105mm kit and sold the lens to buy the 24-70mm. You end up saving a bit of cash that way.

However, you may find the 24-105 a better choice for your travelling. The focal range and IS make it a great walkaround lens. I got the 24-70mm cause I am shooting weddings and will encounter low light situations more often.

There are rumours of a new 24-70mm f2.8 IS coming out in September (see www.canonrumours.com) but there has been no confirmation and this rumour has been on and off for a long time now.

As for other lenses, it depends on how much cash you have and how much you want to carry around while your travelling.

Hope this helps a bit mate.

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Thanks Toph.

Every opinion is helping me to create a big picture about what i need :). I know that 100mm focal range is kind of important while traveling and also with the full frame camera 100mm is still not a lot - 70mm is even worse , but i am not sure about f4 and 2.8. I like blurry background that you get with the second lens... I will probably buy the whole kit, i will take it for a spin on my next trip and if i decide that i don't like that lens i can still try to sell it and buy the other one.

The main idea of this discussion is to find out what do you guys think about 24-70mm f2.8 in compare to f4 (all my current lenses are f4 or higher).

Thanks a lot,

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I dont think the difference between the f/4 and f/2.8 is not a big enough argument what with the IS and ISO
coverage if you want to shoot low light get a standard f/1.4 [should I mention the f/1.2's ??]

since I passed on film and the f/2's I had it's opened new horizons

hope that clears the way a bit
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Something to consider: Lens sweetspot. Which is usually a few stops from wide open. So the f4 lens will be sharpest around f8, but the f2.8 will be getting as sharp around f4/f5.6.

So you'll be getting more light with the same amount of sharpness.

Also, a faster lens will focus faster and have a brighter viewfinder, especially in low light, since it focuses at the widest aperture and steps down to the desired aperture only when exposing.
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These are two great lenses, and I've had them both, but in the end I switched my 24-70 for a 24-105, specifically because it was better for traveling. Apart from the longer focal distance and the IS, the 24-105 is very noticeably lighter and a bit physically smaller.

The 24-105 is remarkably sharp, even wide open, while the 24-70 gives a (slightly) softer and "dreamier" image at the same apertures. On a 21 megapixel camera, you might feel you're not getting every detail you could out of the image with the 24-70.

While it's true as a rule of thumb that a lens with a wider maximum aperture will allow the camera to focus faster, I would say that it's not the case for these specific lenses, the 24-105 is the faster of the two. You might get a slight bit more accurate focus with the 24-70 in tough situations, since the center focus point of the 5D2 is extra sensitive with 2.8 or faster lenses, but I haven't seen this in practice.

As a kit with the camera, the 24-105 is simply a great value proposition. If I where you, I would get it now and wait for the rumored replacement for the 24-70, and either get that when it comes (and get IS and probably a sharper image), or get the old lens at a reduced price, maybe even second hand (it's built like a tank so there shouldn't be any problems with a well used one).
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Hey Gasper,

Background blur is a function of aperture, focal length, subject distance and even sensor size. At longer focal lengths you will still get really nice background blur at f4, especially if your subject is close. Looking through some of my images I have great background blur even at f7.1 and 56mm.

The 24-70mm is apparently the sharpest zoom ever made by canon, however even the steadiest hand is going to introduce some degree of camera shake so the 24-105mm with IS is going to produce sharper images when not on a tripod.

I agree with Jannesjoberg though, I know I mentioned the rumours but I personally wouldn't wait for a new lens/gadget unless I knew it was definitely going to be released.

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Neither lens is all that great for traveling, I'd look into a 35L if you're seriously going to travel a lot with it. (a rangefinder system would also be a completely different experience and will be more suited for traveling).

if you still need to choose between the 24-105 and the 24-70, there is no question in my mind that you should go for the 24-70/2.8L, f/4 is just simply too slow. I shoot professionally and the 24-70 is by far the most versatile lens I own. Even when you travel you will probably have to shoot some shots indoor, like inside a church or something like that, and obviously flash will probably not be an option, the extra speed will help a lot.

Also, the quality of bokeh has to do with how round the aperture is, so the higher number of blades the better. Both of these lenses have 8 curved blades.

some might argue that with the IS the f/4L gives you about the same shutter speeds as the 24-70/2.8L, I'm not so sure about that. And at that point, the ability to have much shallower depth of field will give the 24-70/2.8L a huge advantage. I'm against misused/abuse of shallow DoF images, but it's nice to know you have the option to if that's what you want for some reasons (like when that's what your client wants).
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Forgot to add, I use the Eg-S focusing screen, and f/2.8 is pretty much the requirement to be able to see the frame clearly in the viewfinder with the Eg-S. I don't have any lens slower than 2.8 so I absolutely love the screen. :)
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I just have to support the 24-70/2.8 also; have used is for about 1.5 years almost exclusively. When shooting indoors it's probably the best zoom available at the moment.. Surely I'm interested the IS version if it's really coming - let's see the prising!
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I am for the 24-70 in low light for press conference... great result... the 24-105 is nice outdoor (for my usage)
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Ah yes, the classic 24-70/2.8 vs. 24-105/4 debate! Basically it boils down to what's more important to you.

The 24-70 excels at architecture and absolute optical performance. If you shoot a lot of moving subjects in low light, then the 2.8 will give you an extra stop to freeze motion, whereas no amount of IS can help you there. This lens is favored by photojournalists and pro's alike for this, plus slightly faster AF (the 5D2 has cross sensors that work at f/2.8 or faster)

The 24-105 excels at being all-around solid performer, with extra focal length, lighter size/weight and IS. With static subjects in low light, IS is a huge plus, and really gives you 2-4 stops of useful shooting. I think this is one of the best travel lenses out there.

With the 5D2's high ISO capability, I feel like the 2.8 advantage starts to go away bc you can just notch up the ISO one more stop. Anything beyond 6400 in low light and you will begin to have focusing problems that only faster glass will help with.

Hard to go wrong with either lens, but you will get some cost savings going with the kit (24-105). If you don't like it, you could always sell the lens and go for the 24-70, which as others have mentioned, is rumored for a redesign this fall.
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Love my 5D2 with 24-70. If you dial up the ISO you can get some incredible shots in low-light.

My current debate is what Prime to pick up. I currently run the 24-70, 70-200 IS/L, and 16-35 2.8L.

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